The Indonesian government is making it very clear they cannot afford to keep all the illegal aliens (aka asylum seekers) landing on their shores or being apprehended in their waters. They want the UN and Australia to do something about it.
Meanwhile, remember all those Muslim Rohingya boatmen that brought worldwide attention when the Thai government was accused of towing their boats back to sea, those who landed in Indonesia have been given refugee status by the UNHCR and are ready for resettlement in the West.
From the Jakarta Post:
The government said Thursday it would demand a time line of how long the 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers, on board an Australian vessel in Riau province, would stay in Indonesia once their statuses have been finalized.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said Indonesia could not afford to let the boat people, who wish to go to Australia, stay in its territory for an indefinite period of time, as has been the case in the past.
“What would we do to them if they are not classified as refugees? And what would we do if they are? This has to be clear.”
Indonesia is struggling to cope with the rising number of illegal immigrants intercepted in its waters while making the perilous journey to its more prosperous southern neighbor.
The 78 Sri Lankans are only one group of people currently seeking asylum in Australia.
Another 255 Sri Lankans are refusing to get off a wooden boat at Merak Port, Banten, and their status remains unclear.
Reports in Australia have cited 66 incidents of interception in Indonesian waters this year, resulting in arrests of 1,642 illegal immigrants bound for Australia.
Many have become stateless, living in immigration detention facilities or shelters run by the UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Hundreds of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar who were found adrift off the coast of Aceh early this year were granted refugee status by the UNHCR, but have not yet been sent to any third countries willing to accept them. Dozens have reportedly escaped from their facilities.
Sounds like a few have other motives than a chance at a good life in the West.
By the way, Indonesia is a Muslim country. I thought the UN High Commissioner for Refugees told us that Muslims welcome the stranger!